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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is SACS?

SACS is the acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS is one of six regional accrediting associations in the United States and the accrediting body for 11 Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) and Latin America. You may visit the SACS home page at http://www.sacs.org for more information.

2. What does SACS do?

SACS accredits educational institutions at all levels from early childhood centers through universities.

3. What is the COC?

The Commission on Colleges (one of three SACS unites) is responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, senior colleges and two-year colleges. It is comprised of approximately 1,200 colleges and universities.

4. What are the accrediting standards used by the COC?

The accrediting standards used by the Commission on Colleges are contained in the handbook, Principles of Accreditation.

5. What must a college do to be reaccredited?

There are 2 major tasks:

A. Compliance Certification: Document, in excruciating detail, that PCC is in compliance with every standard in the Principles of Accreditation.

B. Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): Select and develop a major improvement project which addresses student learning and success.

6. Why is accreditation important to faculty?

Accreditation allows our faculty to compete for federal research grants and can be assured that student work completed at an accredited institution is creditable. Faculty can trust that students transferring into their programs are prepared to successfully proceed with the program.

7. Why is accreditation important to students?

Accreditation allows our students to have access to federally-subsidized financial aid and ensures that the courses and degrees our students received will be recognized by other institutions. Attending an accredited institution ensures the student that the programs and courses at the institution are creditable and of good quality, making them more competitive to employers.

8. Is PCC accredited?

Yes, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last accredited us in 2003. We are now seeking reaffirmation of our accreditation for 2013.

9. Is accreditation permanent?

SACS requires that an institution's accreditation be reviewed every 10 years. Since our accreditation was reaffirmed in 2003, we are scheduled for another review in 2013.

10. What is QEP?

QEP stands for Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a long-term (5-year) improvement project, identified through an institution-wide process, focused on improving student learning outcomes in one domain.

11. What is the SACS Visiting Committee?

About 15 people from community colleges in the Southeast will visit Pitt Community College to examine all aspects of our operations.

12. When will the committee visit PCC?

The Visiting Committee will be on campus September 18-20, 2012.